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Medical Does any here have experience with antidepressants?

  1. Sep 3, 2009 #1
    Does any here have experience with antidepressants? How long have you taken them? Do they make it harder for you to think? How effective have they been for you?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2009 #2


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    Re: Antidepressants

    There are a plethora of anti-depressants on the market. Some of the more serious ones do affect ones ability to think clearly, generally these are reserved for people who have more profound clinical disorders, like bi-polar disorder.

    The class most frequently prescribed are SSRI (Selective Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). For many, these have proven to be very effective for chronic depression with few side-effects. It does take time for this class of anti-depressant to work and finding the most effective dosing level. The MAO class are more serious and require closer monitoring, have more side-effects and are contraindicated with other medications.

    When considering taking an anti-depressant, its very important that chronic depression is assessed by a physician as some prescription medication can cause depression. Ones age is also important, SSRIs are sometimes not appropriate for individuals who are younger and for some who are elderly. An increase in suicides and other profound problems are associated with some anti-depressive medications in particular age groups. Physician assessment is very important in determining what kind of anti-depressant is appropriate for an individual as well as assessment of the nature of the depression and its appropriate therapy.
  4. Sep 4, 2009 #3


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    Re: Antidepressants

    I've never really suffered from depression, but have been taking Fish oil for years and more recently DHEA as dietary supplements. Among many other positive things, studies have found that both improve ones mood and relieve depression. AFAIK, neither have been linked to clouding ones thinking.
  5. Sep 4, 2009 #4


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    Re: Antidepressants

    I have recently been prescribed something like this. I endorse Nan's comment. It's something that you do with the help of your doctor and with proper supervision... not least because if you need to take them then they most likely should be only a part of dealing with whatever is going on.

    The advice I have been given is to be sure you don't suddenly stop taking them if you feel better. In my case, it was part of helping me get back on my feet and able to address a few other issues that have knocked me very badly over the last few years. So it is not simply a clinical condition for me. Every person's situation will be different. The aim for me is to get a whole bunch of stuff back on track, and hopefully come off the medication somewhere down the track as well. I am in regular meetings with professional help in this project; and have a family behind me as well that helps a lot. At this stage, I think the anti-depressants have helped me and made be better able to take some other steps involved. But it was prescribed, and it is only one part of the whole mental health plan.

    Cheers -- sylas
  6. Sep 4, 2009 #5
    Re: Antidepressants

    Thank you all for the informative feedback.

    I have had thoughts about going to the doctors and seeing if prescribed antidepressants would be right for me. But I am hesitant for the following reasons:
    1) Side effects-- I will be a senior in my University's physics program. I fear that if I start taking antidepressants it could effect my academic performance through clouded thoughts and constant sleepiness.
    2) Cost-- Antidepressants don't look that cheap according to: http://www.consumerreports.org/health/resources/pdf/best-buy-drugs/2pager_Antidepress.pdf. This my not seem like a lot to most people--to me it is. Being a student finance would be difficult.
  7. Sep 4, 2009 #6


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    Re: Antidepressants

    Talk these over with your doctor, some prescription medicines have less side effects than others and you should always start off at a low dose and gradually increase. Most are generic now and places like Walmart will fill your prescription for $4. SSRI's aren't addictive.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  8. Sep 4, 2009 #7
    Re: Antidepressants

    define addictive. there are withdrawal symptoms.
  9. Sep 5, 2009 #8
    Re: Antidepressants

    Thanks again everyone.

    There is also another outcome I fear that draws influence from a friend. My friend started antidepressants while ago. At first she seemed to be getting better. But the prescriptions triggered some unforeseen reactions. She developed some other disorders like paranoia. She now has to take a host of other medications to combat these reactions.

    It seems to me that antidepressants carry a lot of risk. Do we really understand brain chemistry that well that we should be altering it?
  10. Sep 5, 2009 #9
    Re: Antidepressants

    Caveat Emptor

    One View:


    But also consider:



    This is a complex issue. Individual reactions to anti-depressants are varied.

    I think the question on whether or not to get treatment really depends on the severity of one's problem. If you have good days and bad days, you're probably better off not going down that road. On the other hand, depression that is constant must be dealt with through medication, although it can often be a long and difficult road to find the right one (ten years for me).

    If you are going to seek treatment, the best advice I can give you is find a good doctor.
    There is a world of difference between a competent caring doctor and a guy who only sees you as a dollar sign.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  11. Sep 5, 2009 #10


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    Re: Antidepressants

    Excellent responses here folks. Not to be flip but those who are college age, taking demanding courses are stressed which can sometimes lead to depression. Its a difficult time in life. Seeing a physician to assess the level of stress and depression is key. For some their college years are a golden time; for me, I wouldn't re-live that time for all the gold in the world.

    A recent physorg article suggested that analytical thinking leads to depression, that depression is a way to solve problems (not so sure about that). It also stated that young adults often experience rather profound depressive states. Its no wonder, there are many stresses at that age both social and otherwise. I personally experienced a horrible and profound depression while in college stemming from situational experiences and from stress. It is a time when there are many rapid life changes beyond securing an education for ones future.

    If you are concerned about how an antidepressant might affect you, talk to your physician about it and if recommended, schedule taking it for the first time during a break in course work. Know too that an anti-depressant isn't a panacea. You will still have downs but they will not be as long or as profound; you'll be able to cope better when you do have downs. The world composed of yin/yang, you cannot know happiness and joy if you have not known the opposite.

    Also know this, this too shall pass. Everyone on the planet experiences depression, it is a matter of how profound it is, how long it lasts and if it interferes with ones abilities to perform and engage in life.

    We are a society that wants immediate solutions to problems; the magic pill to mitigate everything troublesome.

    Depression can lead to personal growth and strength although it is a painful process. You are right, our knowledge of the brain, brain chemistry is not 100% and additionally, we are all individuals who will react differently. Perspective, introspection and meditation are also ways to mitigate depression but requires some discipline and work. You may want to explore those as an alternative to medication if your individual situation could benefit. Regular exercise can also help depression. Getting quality sleep regularly (tough in college I know) is also helpful.

    I wish you the best of luck. Depression is an unwelcome old friend of mine, but my stages in life also included the opposite, with long periods of contentment.
  12. Sep 5, 2009 #11
    Re: Antidepressants

  13. Sep 5, 2009 #12


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    Re: Antidepressants

    Galteeth: You are correct and why physician assessment is critical for objective analysis and the appropriate treatment. All depression isn't created equal. As I stated before, some depression is a symptom of clinically profound conditions requiring life-long treatment.

    This is a very complex issue with many facets, some which are still not well understood and vexing.
  14. Sep 5, 2009 #13
    Re: Antidepressants

    Thanks again for the responses everyone.

    A query I have: is there a relationship with depression and anxiety?
  15. Sep 5, 2009 #14


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    Re: Antidepressants

    I agree. I don't think there is enough evidence yet from people who are discontinuing treatment after long-term use to know if it is really addictive. The difficulty of discontinuing for those who do with regard to withdrawal symptoms sure does suggest that addiction may be occurring.

    As with any medication, it should be used under close supervision of a qualified physician. With any sort of medication that acts on the brain, I would strongly suggest that a qualified physician be defined as either a psychiatrist or neurologist, and NOT just your regular GP.

    Because depression is more of a syndrome than a disease (i.e., defined by symptoms, not by mechanism), selecting medications to treat it is often a shot in the dark, and based more on whether or not you respond to them and whether or not there are side effects that are tolerable or not. It can take considerable time to find the right dose and drug to treat someone...and sometimes none of them work. And, because of all the potentially varied underlying causes for depression, and the different mechanisms through which the drugs treat it, it seems reasonable that susceptibility to addiction may vary too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  16. Sep 5, 2009 #15
    Re: Antidepressants

    Below I report on some negatives: (1) A side-effect (2) Complete loss of effectiveness (3) Terrible withdrawal.

    I have been taking an SSRI (celexa) for many years under the regular supervision of a psychiatrist. It initially worked, extreme teeth grinding (my jaw would hurt) being the most severe side-effect. I still grind my teeth though not as severely. Then the SSRI began to lose effectiveness. This is probably because the brain reacts to the extra serotonin by reducing the sensitivity of serotonin receptors. Then in a failed attempt to switch to another SSRI, I ended up with zero medication (long story). Then, with a delayed reaction, withdrawal symptoms started, getting progressively worse: (a) Crying on a dime (b) Premature ejaculation (c) Restless legs---a pulling sensation in the legs which hinders sleep (d) Sense of detachment, panic attacks, agoraphobia. I would not wish these on my worst enemy. I was promptly put back on celexa. I guess you could say I am addicted to it, and it doesn't seem to be effective anymore.

    I believe that many types of depression can be treated with diet, supplements, moderate exercise, therapy. In some cases a change in scene can help. I wish I had found a doctor (and could still find one) whose first course of action is to try these things (when applicable) and then, only as a last resort, use medication.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  17. Sep 5, 2009 #16
    Re: Antidepressants

    There is a strong relationship between Depression and Anxiety.

    Typically, people who suffer from anxiety tend to become depressed due to constant stress from their anxiousness (duh; sorry, didn't mean to be redundant) which has adverse affects on their personality, mental health, etc.

    A great example would be the college student reference above.
  18. Sep 5, 2009 #17
    Re: Antidepressants

    Anti-depressants should be a last resort. It is hard to stop taking them, as when you stop, your depression is back and even stronger. Your better off finding solutions by examining your problem, your emotions, and figure out what's wrong in your life. It can often be that you just have some things to learn about life, and need to broaden your perspective. Find out what makes it worse, and what makes things better. For example, anger, fear, jealousy, shame etc. Don't encourage yourself to cry or feel bad. A lot of people like to sit and feel sorry for yourself, and add up all the reasons. This is the worst thing to do, so it is simple, don't do it. Why should you punish yourself? Find things which keep you motivated, realize that many many people have it worse than you. What about people who were in NAZI concentration camps, aren't you glad your not there. How happy they would feel to be in your shoes. Even when things are bad, no reason to waste, and throw away what you do have.
  19. Sep 6, 2009 #18
    Re: Antidepressants

    I think this is a big misunderstanding people have when it comes to these types of problems. Depression isn't about anything. It is not a reaction to external circumstances.
    "How happy they would feel to be in your shoes." This is a meaningless statement in this context, because if they were happy, THEY COULD NOT be in your shoes. For reasons that are not understood, the parts of the brain that regulate mood and emotion stop functioning, and your brain becomes unable to produce the subjective states of "happiness", "pleasure" and others. One who is in a state of biological depression is unresponsive to stimulus that would make normal people feel certain emotions. It doesn't matter if you're at disneyland with the hottest babe in the world and a million dollars. It's all the same. It's very difficult to explain in subjective terms. The best analogy I can think of: imagine audio feedback, that screechy whiny sound. If that was being played at a constant level, all the time in your ears, you couldn't enjoy music in the background, it would be completely drowned out. It's sort of like your brain, or at least the part of that is responsible for emotion, is doing that feedback thing all the time. When antidepressants work, they sort of drop the noise level, not that it's gone completely, but that it's more manageable.
  20. Sep 6, 2009 #19
    Re: Antidepressants

    That all depends. I would bet that for most people who are depressed, it is a result of life factors, perspective, and attitude. Many people are just lonely, iscolated, maybe ashamed. Some people have diseases, some people lost loved ones. Some people are over worked, over stressed. Many people who are depressed are dealing with guilt. Some people are struggling to make enough money.

    My belief is that no matter who you are, depressed, not depressed, whatever. There are things you can do, and actions you can take to try and lead a happier life.

    I went through a period in my life where I was very depressed. I was so depressed, that I couldn't fall asleep at night, and didn't want to wake up in the morning, I would sleep most the day, had little motivation to do much of anything. For me, while at school, I found little interest in most of my classes. I had no creative outlet. What helped a lot was to take up woodworking as a hobby which eventually led to being my job. For me, it is something that makes the time fly, a goal, something to focus on, something to keep my wheels turning. Never let your mind go stagnant. Find something to focus on. There is much you can learn about life that can help. Research shows that therapy, talking with someone trying to work out your problems is much more effective on the long term than drugs.
  21. Sep 6, 2009 #20


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    Re: Antidepressants

    This is why depression is such a complex issue. Some people can overcome major depression through their own will, perspective and abilities. Depression is a highly individualized problem and why physician assessment is required. Stress/anxiety can become so overwhelming and profound for some people it produces physiological problems in addition to the psychological ones, become a roadblock to reaching goals and functioning especially during critical times in life.

    One cannot minimize what another may be experiencing, each situation is unique. When you are ill with the flu and think about those who are ill with cancer, it doesn't mean that you are less ill or miserable with the flu! But I do agree sometimes perspective can help people cope with depression.

    Eating well, getting regular and good quality sleep, routine exercise, meditation for some, can all help on the road to recovery from depression. A good support system and talking it over can also help. But for some people, these prove inadequate, that is when medication can help if a physician finds the person meets the criteria. It doesn't mean life-long therapy for everyone but can serve as a bridge to help cope. As I stated before, SSRIs aren't a panacea but merely makes the depression less profound so one can cope better.

    A physician assessment also is important to discover it there maybe underlying causes for depression, like other medications or physical problem. If the depression is long-standing and/or is a part of a symptom complex-then the physician can identify if the depression is part of a more profound problem requiring treatment. For example if there is a thyroid dysfunction, it can produce depression; if there is a family history illnesses like bi-polar disorders; then depression could be a symptom of a larger problem. Assessment of depression requires an objective assessment from a professional who can then make recommendations and provide choices.
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